Sunday, August 15, 2004

Emotional intelligence. I have just been reading SundayLife - which has got marginally better since the disastrous editorial reign of Marina Go and her obsession with her own children and the yearnings for Rustique Chic* of thirtysomething professional mothers. Anyway, there was this story about emotional intelligence as a managerial technique. I was quite interested by its implication that there are two sorts of 'emotional' people: people who are empathetic (coded as a desirable quality) and people who are not very good at controlling their emotions (coded as an undesirable quality). And the article does bring up these tensions:
Peter Drucker [an American management guru] says that if people perform, they have the right to be disagreeable. We are getting rid of the eccentrics and the high-achievers and we're creating armies of robots.

I was interested in how emotion is invoked both positively and negatively in the workplace. For example, do Gordon Ramsay's hapless apprentices work with him because he's a 'brilliant' chef, or because we've come to expect that 'brilliance' in a chef must be accompanied by foul-mouthed, belittling behaviour? In other words, emotional 'control' equates to mediocrity.

This also ties in to the book I've been reading (two months late, but I'll say no more because of the First Rule), The Curious Incident... whose protagonist is a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism in which people have no empathy and organise their world in highly ritualistic ways.

Anyway, they had a URL to an online emotional intelligence quiz. I believe I've done these before (I went through a thesis-triggered crisis over summer in which I convinced myself that I was psychologically androgynous), but anyway, my emotional IQ is 60. Perhaps this partially explains my difficulties in relating to other people, but I also think the survey design is fishy. Like, they sometimes reward points to a response that is completely contrary to the way we're socialised to deal with situations of emotional stress and conflict. Like, you're supposed to negotiate rationally and formulate 'plans' for situations, which seems like the opposite of emotional response to me. Instead, it seems like the "armies of robots" critique in action. I think it's very creepy to be telling people that they are emotionally stupid based on these criteria. But maybe that's just sour grapes cos I'm an emotional Forrest Gump.

* I've tried to pitch my scathing expose of Rustique Chic to several newspapers now, and nobody will take it on because their entire editorial policy is based on this idea. Maybe I'll blog about it.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter